Leading Change … July 2024

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Leading Change … July 2024

We Need to Enhance Women’s Transport Security 

The thought of traveling alone has always stirred a sense of apprehension within me. Only recently have I come to realize my preference for the security of a companion or the familiarity of my car, perhaps supplemented by a quick train journey to London, for personal trips.  

 

Yet, the luxury of a travel partner is not always available, especially for extensive business trips that require leaving behind the safety of my vehicle. However, this feeling of unease is not unique to me. 

 

In 2021, Forbes reported on a study that ranked countries according to which were the most dangerous or the safest for women. Unfortunately, the United Kingdom was listed among the top 15 most perilous countries for female travelers, alongside nations like the United States and Australia. 

 

Also in 2021, the U.K. government released a policy paper titled Tackling violence against women and girls.” In response, the Department for Transport appointed transport champions with the task of enforcing guidelines to ensure the safety of women within our transport systems. 

 

The mission was clear: delve into the multifaceted challenges faced by women, conduct comprehensive research, and collaborate with experts nationwide. The findings were eye-opening. 

 

Women and girls encounter significant barriers hindering their access to employment and training opportunities, largely due to restricted transport options compounded by safety concerns and racial biases.  

 

These barriers limit life opportunities and ambitions and carry significant economic repercussions, potentially resulting in a 3.7% loss in gross domestic product in the U.K., according to the policy paper. Moreover, the broader impact extends to deterring tourism and leisure activities. 

 

The findings from a survey conducted by the rental car company Enterprise Mobility survey underscore the importance of safety in domestic business travel for women. Notably, a staggering 27% of women exclusively rely on personal vehicles for business trips, surpassing men at 16%. Factors such as time constraints and childcare obligations exert a profound influence on their travel decisions, emphasizing the pressing need for comprehensive support. 

 

This prompts a critical reflection on the role of parking professionals in enhancing transportation safety. At the inaugural Women in Parking UK event in June 2022, attendees engaged in a poignant dialogue, shedding light on the divergent experiences between genders.  

 

Women recounted their experiences navigating dimly lit parking lots, meticulously evaluating safety measures before selecting a spot. Their narratives, punctuated by cautionary rituals like clutching keys or avoiding certain vehicles, left male counterparts visibly taken aback, underscoring the pervasive nature of these concerns. 

 

In 2021, with the issue of violence against women and girls very much in the public consciousness, Trellint saw an opportunity to help tackle violence against women, girls, and vulnerable people by expanding the Ask for Angela” campaign beyond the hospitality industry. 

 

The Ask for Angela initiative was originally developed by Lincolnshire County Council, as part of the #NoMore campaign. It was designed to help keep women safe, on a night out in a bar or nightclub. Women who felt unsafe, vulnerable, or threatened could discreetly seek help by approaching a staff member at a participating venue and asking them for Angela.”  

 

This code-phrase indicated the person required help with their situation. A trained staff member would then look to support and assist them by reuniting them with a friend, seeing them to a taxi, or by calling venue security and/or the police.  

 

Ask for Angela was then adopted by the Metropolitan Police in London in 2016 as a localized initiative by its police licensing officers. The initiative was rolled out to bars, clubs, and other licensed businesses across London.  

 

In 2017, the organization known as the Safer Sounds Partnership, which promotes safety within the U.K. events and music industry, introduced its Welfare and Vulnerability Engagement (WAVE) training. The WAVE training aims to raise awareness of vulnerable populations and teach members of the industry how and when to intervene to offer protection. As a result, more venues across the country began to take part in the Ask for Angela initiative. 

 

We reached out the Safer Sounds Partnership to help us develop WAVE training specifically for on-street parking civil enforcement officers, who enforce parking, traffic, and related laws in the U.K. The training was to help them identify all vulnerable individuals in need of assistance, which is not limited to only women and girls.  

 

The resulting working group included WAVE experts, our management team, and civil enforcement officers. The group explored how on-duty civil enforcement officers could help to tackle abusive behavior and threats of gender-based violence that could result in physical, sexual, or psychological harm.  

 

The group examined various situations and experiences of abuse or potential violence that civil enforcement officers had encountered while on duty. This enabled the WAVE training specialists to gain a better understanding of the types of situations and vulnerabilities of individuals that civil enforcement officers may encounter during their on-street shifts.  

 

Training developers then introduced scenarios based on real-life incidents within the training modules for civil enforcement officers. 

 

Parking professionals can take three other concrete steps to support women in our industry: 

  1. Reevaluate travel policies. Prioritize employee safety in travel arrangements, opting for proximity and security over cost efficiency. Consider alternatives to accommodations further from event venues that may compromise safety.
  2. Enhance infrastructure. Install electric vehicle chargers and allocate parking spaces strategically, considering proximity to the workplace and ensuring well-lit, surveyed environments. Moreover, consider implementing designated women’s parking areas equipped with enhanced security features such as sufficient CCTV coverage and ample lighting, for example.
  3. Promote dialogue and inclusivity. Engage with employees to gain insight into their mobility needs and safety concerns. Foster a culture of inclusivity in which all voices are heard and valued, ultimately leading to a more supportive, empathetic workplace environment.

 

By addressing these challenges head-on and actively collaborating to implement practical solutions, we can pave the way for a safer, more equitable transportation landscape.  

 

Through collective action and a steadfast commitment to change, we can empower women to navigate the world with confidence, ultimately fostering a society where safety knows no gender. 

 

Jade Neville is the Market Engagement Strategist at Trellint. She can be reached at jade.neville@trellint.com. 

Article contributed by:
Jade Neville, Trellint
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